May 29, 2024
Venezuela's cryptocurrency regulatory journey
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Venezuela’s Sunacrip Crypto Oversight Body Undergoes Six-Month Extension

Venezuela took a pioneering step in the Latin American region by instituting its own cryptocurrency regulatory body known as the Superintendencia Nacional de Criptoactivos (Sunacrip) in 2018. Nevertheless, the government has recently declared a six-month extension for the restructuring of this entity, which had been closed down in March 2023.

In accordance with a presidential decree made public on September 19, President Nicolás Maduro has directed the prolongation of the mandated reorganization period for Sunacrip. This extension officially commenced on September 17 and is scheduled to persist until March 24, 2024.

Sunacrip was temporarily shuttered in March 2023, following the government’s announcement of a reorganization prompted by a corruption scandal involving its former leadership. During that period, a minimum of ten individuals, including Joselit Ramirez Camacho, who had overseen the crypto department since its inception in 2018, were arrested. Venezuelan prosecutors allege that Ramirez embezzled more than $3 million from the state during his tenure at Sunacrip. He had been responsible for regulating the country’s cryptocurrency activities and managing the introduction of the petro, a national Venezuelan cryptocurrency linked to oil reserves.

The shutdown of this regulatory body resulted in turmoil within the Venezuelan cryptocurrency sector, which has strong ties to the government and has been utilizing digital assets as a means to circumvent economic sanctions imposed by the United States. Crypto mining facilities in various states were closed down, and some cryptocurrency exchanges received orders to cease their operations.

Sunacrip was established by the Venezuelan government in 2018 with the primary purpose of overseeing all commercial activities related to cryptocurrencies within the country, including the creation, issuance, transfer, sale, and exchange of cryptocurrency assets.

In 2018, Venezuela introduced Petro, a cryptocurrency backed by oil reserves. As of the summer of 2023, there were reports indicating the government’s intention to phase out this currency; however, till now, its official website was still operational.

Image by pixabay

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